Missouri signs the #1 Recruit in the Nation
Per the MUTigers.com press release,
"It goes without saying, but Michael is a special player and a special person," Martin said. "Michael comes to the Mizzou Family from a great family of his own, and our basketball program is thrilled to have a student-athlete with his character, drive and passion. Lisa and Michael Porter, Sr., raised Michael well. He is continually motivated to give and is always striving to be a great teammate.
"Most of all, welcome home to Michael. Mizzou is a special place and Columbia is a community that already knows him well. I'm looking forward to Michael representing Mizzou well, on and off the court and in the classroom, and I'm sure he looks forward to it, as well."
As a junior in 2015-16, Porter averaged 28.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and helped Tolton to a 26-3 record and Columbia's first high school state basketball championship in 54 years.
As a senior in 2016-17, the Porter-powered Nathan Hale squad posted a perfect 29-0 record en route to the Washington Class 3A State Championship. The state title was the first-ever for the Seattle school.
Honored as the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago on March 29, Porter completed a significant trifecta of awards by also garnering the Naismith and Gatorade Boys national player of the year awards. He is just the fifth basketball player ever to claim all three honors and first since 2004, joining the prolific listing of Dwight Howard (2004), LeBron James (2003), Chris Webber (1991) and Alonzo Mourning (1988).
Porter is Mizzou's sixth all-time McDonald's All-American signee; the first since Travon Bryant (2000). Porter's name resides on a list that also includes: Albert White (1995), Anthony Peeler (1988), Derrick Chievous (1984) and Steve Stipanovich (1979).
Mizzou says Porter is school's 6th McD AA counting Michigan transfer Albert White - but should be 7th if you count UConn's Alex Oriakhi— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) April 12, 2017
Porter is considered the nation's top recruit by ESPN.com and Rivals, as well as a five-star prospect by the aforementioned outlets and Scout.com and 247Sports. Additionally selected as USA Today's All-USA Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Porter was named to All-America teams by USA Today, Associated Press, the Naismith Trophy and MaxPreps.
Beyond mere accolades, Porter has showcased his talent on national and international levels, playing for the Team USA U-18 squad on multiple occasions while earning a spot in the Jordan Brand Classic (April 14).
The son of Lisa and Michael Porter, Sr., Michael Porter, Jr. has seven siblings: Bri, Cierra, Jontay, Coban, Jevan, Izaak and Jayda. Older sisters Bri and Cierra play for Mizzou Women's Basketball, coached by their aunt, Robin Pingeton. His father, Michael Porter, Sr., serves as an assistant coach on Martin's staff. His mother, Lisa, played college basketball at Iowa, while his father played collegiately at New Orleans.
Porter's signing of a financial aid agreement with the University of Missouri includes him in a growing recruiting class with incoming guard C.J. Roberts (North Richland Hills, Texas). Learn more about Roberts here.
Quotes from Michael Porter Jr., again from MUTigers.com’s release,
On the thought of returning home to play at Mizzou…
"Mizzou is my home. I lived in Columbia from fifth grade all the way until my senior year of high school. That place has shown me so much love. And I want to give back to that. I want to get Mizzou Basketball back to the atmosphere I know it can be."
On playing for new Mizzou head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin…
"Coach Martin is such a normal, humble guy. I can't wait to play for him. He wants to put me in the best possible situations to succeed. As a player, you can really tell he is a guy that wants his players to be great, see them do well and make it to the next level."
On the Columbia community and Mizzou fans…
"Mizzou fans and people in Columbia know me. I'll be around town. I'm a friendly guy. On the court, I'm not as much of a friendly guy. You've got to dial it in, then. But just me? I'm fun."
Missouri, Ohio State now share a unique bond
In 2006, Greg Oden was a one and done for Ohio State one his way to becoming the #1 overall pick in that year’s NBA draft (overall Kevin Durant). Two years later the Buckeyes signed quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who ended up sitting out his senior year after getting suspended by the NCAA for accepting improper benefits.
In 2012, Dorial Green-Beckham signed with Missouri and played two seasons for the Tigers before being dismissed and sitting out a year with the Oklahoma Sooners. Five years later, Missouri basketball signed Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr.’s world tour continues
Porter has a had a busy spring, winning MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game and leading Team USA to victory in the Nike Hoops Summit last week. Every step of the way he’s been in the ear of fellow 5 star forward Kevin Knox. As they say, Always Be ‘Crootin’.
Porter will be in New York for the Jordan Brand Classic, playing for the East squad at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN2. This will actually be the second time Porter and Knox face off against each other as Knox will, for some reason, be playing on the West squad.
Blake Harris makes it official
C.J. Roberts, Missouri’s first recruit, who originally signed with the Tigers back in November, then re-affirmed his commitment to new head coach Cuonzo Martin just last week.
Yesterday, Michael Porter Jr. signed a financial aid agreement to play for Missouri, which is different than the National Letter of Intent he’d previously signed with Washington Huskies.
That only leaves Missouri’s latest commit, four-star guard Blake Harris, who committed after visiting Columbia this past weekend. He officially signed with Missouri today.
Per Missouri’s official press release:
Mizzou Men’s Basketball has signed one of the nation’s top guards, Blake Harris (Chapel Hill, N.C.), to its 2017 recruiting class, head coach Cuonzo Martin announced Thursday. The 6-3, 185-pound guard has starred for Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina, averaging 25.0 points and 9.9 assists per game while leading his squad to a 27-6 record as a senior in 2016-17.
A gifted scorer and passer out of the basketball-crazed state of North Carolina, Harris is considered the third-best prospect in the Tar Heel State by ESPN.com, along with a 99th overall national rating. Harris was named First Team All-State by the Associated Press following his stellar senior campaign.
“We’re excited to welcome Blake Harris to the Mizzou Basketball Family,” Martin said. “His parents, Kellie and Bernardo Harris, did a great job raising a young man who understands the values of life, not just basketball. Blake’s attributes on the basketball court, working hard and never quitting, will be what make him an overall outstanding representative of our program.
“Throughout the recruiting process, Blake had his pick of schools he would likely thrive at as a student-athlete, but he chose the University of Missouri because of that unique feeling he discovered on our campus. There is a level of excitement building here in Columbia that will be fun for everyone to be a part of, especially Blake, who will be a great member of our team.”
Ranked as a four-star recruit by both ESPN.com and 247Sports, Harris is also rated inside Rivals.com’s final “Rivals150” 2017 prospect ranking. He is ranked as highly as the 20th-best guard in the entire 2017 class byESPN.com and the 29th-best point guard by 247Sports.
“Mizzou’s coaching staff made me feel like I was already a part of their family,” Harris said. “They are men of God, which I appreciate. It isn’t all about basketball with Coach Martin and his staff. Making sure I am doing well in all aspects of my life seemed what mattered most to them, which I respected. On the court and for the Mizzou program, I plan to be a winner. I like to lead by example and get the best out of my teammates.
“Mizzou has the best fan base I’ve ever seen. My visit to campus was incredible. The whole place was putting off really great vibes and I’m just really excited to be a part of that.”
On the travel ball circuit, Harris played for Team CP3, which is the Nike EYBL squad sponsored by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Soon to be a notable alum of Word of God, Harris will share that distinction with current NBA star John Wall, who played his junior and senior seasons at the academy.
College Basketball’s late signing window now open
The late signing period for “prospective student-athletes” signing 2016-17 and enrolling 2017-18 begins on April 12, 2017 and ends on May 17, 2017.
Knox will wait to decide
According to 247sports’s North Carolina site, Kevin Knox has decided to take his time before announcing his college choice. Per that report, Knox will make his choice dependent on “national television availability”. Yesterday at the Jordan Brand Classic, Knox reiterated his timetable.
Kevin Knox says the latest he would announce is May 10. End of April-then.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 12, 2017
Tilmon granted release
Earlier this week, Jeremiah Tilmon was granted a release from the NLI he’d signed with Illinois. While Missouri would seem to be in the lead for the five-star center, word out of St. Louis suggest North Carolina and kansas are “lurking”.
The Tilmon to MU story isn't etched in stone. Counzo likely makes a visit Friday to East St.Louis. But sources tell me KU and UNC lurking.— Frank Cusumano (@Frank_Cusumano) April 12, 2017
Backing that up was this report that the jayhawks were going to visit Tilmon this Friday. I’m not overly concerned since it seems like kansas is sending their version of Jamall Walker instead of Bill Self.
Elsewhere, Missouri appears to be kicking the tires on other uncommitted prospects, in case the Knox Gambit doesn’t pan out or another scholarship opens up. Adam Zagoria at the Jordan Brand Classic reports Missouri has “reached out” to five-star Brian Bowen, a 6’7 forward who plays for La Lumiere School in Indiana where Jeremiah Tilmon spent a year before returning to East St. Louis.
Brian Bowen said Oregon, Mizzou and Ohio State have reached out 'because they know I'm not committed'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 12, 2017
Recruiting Rankings matter when you’re doing well
The latest player rankings are out and you’ll never guess who’s number one. Okay maybe you will, but would you believe that Missouri has six targets in the top 150 with three of them committed?
1 — Michael Porter Jr.
9 — Kevin Knox
42 — Jeremiah Tilmon
52 — Mark Smith
104 — CJ Roberts
131 — Blake Harris
Furthermore, the most recently team rankings are out and would you believe Missouri has a better class than kansas?
Of course, everyone has their predictions as to where the top remaining uncommitted prospects will go. SBNation says Knox will go with Duke (and Tilmon to Missouri) while Rivals has North Carolina with a narrow edge over Duke and Missouri.
Lastly, Cuonzo Martin was at Speaker’s Circle yesterday, hoopin’ it up with the kids.